Firefighters from Mexico land in B.C., heading to the Interior soon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Firefighters from Mexico land in B.C., heading to the Interior soon

An unidentified firefighter is pictured in this B.C. Wildfire Service photo posted to Twitter.
Image Credit: TWITTER/B.C. Wildfire Service
July 24, 2021 - 2:23 PM

A contingent of 100 Mexican firefighters landed in B.C. today, offering much-needed aid to ongoing efforts.

"These highly trained crews will be on hand for 30 days working shoulder to shoulder with our wildfire service crews," solicitor general Mike Farnworth said.

"We can't thank these men and women enough for heeding our call for support."

After clearing customs, the Mexican firefighters are heading to a nearby air tanker base to undergo rapid COVID-19 testing and meet with BC wildfire representatives. Then they will travel to the interior, to get to work.

"The province will continue to do everything possible, as we have from the start to source additional firefighting resources to protect communities," Farnworth said.

Additionally, members of the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Vernon to debrief and receive their tasks and more are arriving midweek.

It's expected that there will be 350 armed forces members on hand.

"We also have our province crews and resources from Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Parks Canada," he said.

"The details of these deployments are being finalized now and more information will be available in the coming days."

Deployments, he said, are coordinated through the Interagency Fire Center Winnipeg, and they are stretched this year given the number of wildfires in both Canada and the U.S.

Farnworth said difficult fire behavior and conditions throughout the Central and Southern interior are expected to persist for the foreseeable future, given the weather expected in the days ahead.

That is also taxing resources to house those who have been evacuated.

"In Kamloops hotel space is limited and Kamloops is not able at this point to take any more evacuees, but there are 21 reception centers around the province that are able to take evacuees," he said.

"We've been working with local governments to ensure that there is space in communities. So for example, while there may not be space in Kamloops .... there are places in  Kelowna and Prince George, Williams Lake and Spences bridge, for example."

He said there are also reception centers as far away as Chilliwack.

"We are working with communities to ensure that there is there enough space," he said.

Farnworth added that there are currently 4,100 people evacuated due to wildfires in B.C.



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